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February 28, 2014

U.S. specialty chemical market volumes fall in January, ACC says

Scott Jenkins

In January, U.S. specialty chemicals market volumes fell 0.7%, according to the latest Weekly Chemistry and Economic Report from the American Chemistry Council (ACC; Washington, D.C.; The decline in January follows a 1.1% gain in December and a 0.5% gain in November. 
The severe winter weather experienced by much of the country in January is clearly having an effect on markets, ACC said. Of the 28 specialty chemical segments monitored regularly by ACC, only 4 expanded in January. By contrast, 25 and 23 segments expanded in December and November of last year, respectively.
In January, the only segment to observe a gain of 1.0% or greater was lubricant additives. The overall specialty chemicals volume index was up 3.8% year-over-year, on a three-month-moving-average basis, the ACC report said.
This week’s ACC report also discussed the February Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), which was released earlier in the week. Summarizing the macroeconomic indicator, ACC said “the CAB signals that the U.S. economy will continue expanding into the third quarter of 2014. The pace of improvement, however, will remain lackluster when compared to historical recoveries and expansions.”
No recessionary signals are present at this point, the report adds.

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